The Sydney Roosters say they are yet to even speak with sacked Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri and would be unable to offer him more than the NRL's minimum wage of A$55,000 ($68,111) a year.
The Roosters had emerged as the favourites to snare the dual international's signature but distanced themselves yesterday as Tuqiri said he would be speaking with several clubs in the coming weeks and taking advice from former mentor Wayne Bennett.
"If Lote wanted to play for us on a minimal wage of course we'd be interested, but at this stage we're not in a position to make him any sort of offer," Roosters recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan said.
"I've never spoken to him. If you ask him and tell him to give us a ring I'd be real pleased to hear from him.
"The way our cap position is and the way every club's cap position is, (everyone) would be in that position.
"He's a wonderful player and he'd be back playing a decent game so we'd love to have him."
On a day Cronulla and South Sydney, who saved some cash by releasing Craig Wing last month, ruled themselves out of the chase for Tuqiri, the big winger said he would consider all options.
They reportedly include a move to the French rugby union club of former NRL star Craig Gower, Bayonne.
"I'll be out there chatting to a few other people over the next week or so," Tuqiri told reporters outside his home.
"I'm just going to go out and see what's out there and go from there.
"There's a few things going on and rugby league's certainly one of them and I'll just have to look at every option."
Asked about Bennett and St George Illawarra, Tuqiri said: "He's always had good advice for me and I'm sure I'll ask him a few more questions in the next couple of weeks."
The Wests Tigers appear to still be in the hunt for the 29-year-old, despite recruitment boss Warren McDonnell distancing the club from him on Monday.
Coach Tim Sheens met with Tuqiri last week.
"At that stage he hadn't settled his situation with the rugby," Sheens told reporters on Tuesday.
"I see that's happened in the last 48 hours, so we're interested, we don't deny that, but I suppose so is every rugby league club in the country and overseas as well, but I don't think he wants to go overseas.
"We had a coffee and a very light conversation about his thoughts about rugby league and I think he's definitely interested in talking about rugby league."
It appears Tuqiri, though, will need to clear his alleged off-field misdemeanour, which remains a mystery following a settlement with the Australian Rugby Union, with the NRL before any return to the embattled code.
"I think there'd be some hurdles before he could come back to rugby league," NRL chief executive David Gallop told the Nine Network.
Meanwhile, the ARU denied a report Tuqiri had received a $2 million settlement after his $1 million-per-year contract was terminated.
"This is wildly inaccurate speculation," an ARU statement said.
"ARU is not at liberty to go into details of the settlement."
Tuqiri said he was "happy with the result."
Sourced from: The New Zealand HeraldReuse content